Saturday, December 12, 2009

What if Mary Had Said "No"!

This most wonderful time of the year gets my thoughts turned to the story of Jesus' birth in the first chapter of Luke in the New Testament. I've always been intrigued by the account of Mary's encounter with the angel, Gabriel. After greeting her as "highly favored of God", she's told that she's been chosen to bear the Son of the Most High God in her womb. As a young virgin engaged to be married to an older man, she knew what a pregnancy without a marriage meant in her culture. She knew that her betrothed could choose to put her away and that she would be ostracized by society among other things. She didn't know that it would mean having her baby in a stable, having to flee with him to Eqypt for his protection, watching him be misunderstood, humiliated and beaten. She certainly didn't understand that it meant she would witness His crucifixion on the cross. What if she had said, "No way, God! Not going to endure that! Not going there!" If she had refused, I believe God would have chosen another young virgin who would have received His call. But, Mary didn't refuse because God knew her heart and knew that she would yield her fears, her dreams and her life to His will instead of hers. She states in Luke 1:38, "May it be to me as you have said". The submission of this ordinary young woman to the plans and purposes of Father God show that she responded in faith to a unique calling. The fact that she was ordinary makes her so extraordinary! When you and I respond to Father God the same way Mary responded, we become extraordinary people. We get to share in the extreme joy of fellowshipping with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, we get to be a humble servant, a devoted child, a patient teacher, and we get to share in Christ's sufferings. We become extraordinary not because of who we are, but because of Who He is in us as we submit our will to His. There is no place I would rather be this Christmas than to respond in faith to His plans and purposes for my life with, "May it be to me as you have said!" You are blessed and highly favored, dear ones, and you are loved with an awesome, never ending, extraordinary love! Rejoice!